Kruise Reddick opted to stay home with his family last weekend instead of traveling to Ottawa for the 2008 NHL entry draft, and retrospectively, it was a good thing he did. Despite being ranked 30th by Central Scouting and 56th by The Hockey News heading into the entry draft, Reddick somehow eluded the attention of all 30 NHL teams. And one week later, Reddick remains uncertain what he may or may not have done wrong.
“Right now, I really have no idea,” said Reddick from his home in Manor, Saskatchewan. “We still don’t know here, maybe I was a little bit overrated in the rankings.”
A little bit overrated in the rankings? Possibly, however, after averaging more than a point per game with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, that’s certainly no grounds for a player of Reddick’s caliber falling out of the first three rounds, let alone the entire draft.
Perhaps Reddick’s diminutive stature of 5’ 8”, or his underwhelming playoff performance had something to do with it, but that didn’t stop a select group of NHL organizations from displaying significant interest in him prior to the draft.
“I had a couple phone calls and I had three interviews at the combine,” said Reddick, who finished third on his team in scoring with 74 points and ninth overall in the WHL with 52 assists. “I mean, obviously some teams were very interested but I guess the chips didn’t fall my way.”
And this isn’t the first time that the chips haven’t fallen Reddick’s way. The 17- year-old center was also passed up in the WHL bantam draft, but instead of admitting defeat, Reddick used the draft day disappointment as further motivation, and he plans to do the same this time around.
“It’s very disappointing; I’m kind of at a loss for words here,” he said. “But obviously, I’m not done proving people wrong and I’m never going to stop trying. There’s always going to be a chip on my shoulder.”
That chip on his shoulder has helped Reddick develop into a versatile player over the past two seasons. With the exception of size, Reddick has everything that a good hockey player should have: speed, smarts, work ethic, the ability and willingness to go into dirty areas, and perhaps above all, a solid and efficient two-way game. Reddick suggests that his capability of playing at both ends of the ice would be the best attribute he would bring to the party.
“I think what they’re missing on right now is a solid two-way player who takes care of both ends of the ice,” he said. “I’m someone who chips in on the offense but it also very reliable in the defensive end.”
Reddick is an incredible asset on the ice, and a class act off it. He and his family played a key role in raising money for a new rink in Manor, Saskatchewan. Furthermore, Reddick displays strong leadership skills and is well liked by his teammates and coaching staff. He brings all the intangibles to the table, and if his past experiences are any indication, Reddick will one day become a piece of the puzzle of an NHL organization, and he won’t stop until he does.
“I’m going to train as hard as I ever had before, get bigger, stronger, and faster,” said Reddick, looking forward to the upcoming summer. “And, I’m going to come into next season and be ready to prove people wrong. I’ve been proving people wrong my whole life and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”